WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Rand Paul today released the latest edition of “The Waste Report,” an ongoing project cataloguing egregious examples of waste within the U.S. government. The latest edition draws attention to the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program that is administered by the United States’ State Department Office of Global Educational Programs at the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA). This fiscal year, the CCI program is slated to spend an astounding $15.6 million to bring foreign students to America to attend community college for free. For comparison’s sake, the same amount of money is enough to pay for approximately 2,330 semesters at an average-priced community college.

The latest edition of “The Waste Report” can be found HERE or below.

For millions of Americans, community colleges offer an affordable and convenient opportunity to begin a college career or to gain a competitive edge in the job market. But it turns out the federal government thinks community colleges should not be limited to, well, the community. Thu, it is planning to spend $15.6 million to bring foreign students to America to attend these institutions for one year.[1]

The FY2016 Community College Initiative (CCI) Program that is run by the State Department’s Office of Global Educational Programs at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) plans to target poor students from several countries including India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Pakistan.[2]

India’s inclusion in the CCI is particularly interesting.  Last year, the University Grants Commission of India (something of a national board of education) approved the creation of 98 new community colleges across India.[3]Meaning, American community colleges will now be in competition with Indian community colleges for students.

Even more shocking about the Indian case is that earlier this year the State Department issued a $70,000 grant opportunity to put on a traveling photo exhibition of American community colleges throughout India.[4] It seems Indian parents are not too sure about the concept of community college so the State Department has to put in an extra effort to sell the idea…with pictures. Two State Department boondoggles rolled in one.

The kids that do get to come to U.S. community colleges may select from only eight fields of study, including, Applied Engineering, Business Management and Administration, Media, and Public Safety.  But with only one year of study they will not be able to take a two-year associate’s degree with them back to their home countries. Also, missing are staples of community college curricula such as nursing or vocational skills, which would prove useful in developing economies.  At least the National Science Foundation’s winemaking classes do not appear to have made the cut either.

In case you were wondering, $15.6 million is enough to pay for 2,330 semesters at the average community college.[5]



[1] FY 2016 Community College Initiative Program; Department of State; Washington, DC; Funding Opportunity Number: ECA-ECAAS-16-008

[2] Ibid

[3] UGC approves 98 community colleges from five states, IndiaToday.IN; New Delhi, India; May 2014

[4] Photographic Exhibit on Community Colleges in the U.S.; Department of State, Mission to India; New Delhi, India; May 2015; Funding Opportunity Number: NDRFP16-07

[5] Calculated using data form The College Board. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-faqs

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